It sure didn't take long for Nintendo DS to inherit Game Boy Advance's vast audience of kids...and the seemingly limitless number of crappy licensed cash-in games that they covet. But games based on cartoons, candy products, and Zac Efron movies aren't necessarily inherently awful: On rare occasion, the perfect convergence of license, developer, and publisher can forge a tie-in game that everyone can be proud of. While we're not sure if it belongs in the hallowed company of kiddie classics like Duck Tales or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (both for NES), Game Factory's second Code Lyoko title for DS, Fall of X.A.N.A., appears to be a surprisingly solid role-playing game in the vein of Final Fantasy.
The game lifts its characters and locations directly from the fourth season of the popular French animated series (broadcast on Cartoon Network here in the states), so fans of the show will feel instantly at home here. As in the last game, the framing "real world" bits set at the kids' school unfold like an old-school click-and-point adventure game -- expect classy hand-drawn art and plenty of engrossing dialogue à la Phoenix Wright. But once you enter Lyoko's Matrix-inspired virtual reality world, the game blossoms into a serious turn-based RPG.